Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Linda Stone at the Collaborative Technologies Conference

Usual live blogging disclaimers - misspells, missed statements and mis-typos! I'm here at the Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston. There is a wiki and I will place these notes in the wiki in a bit.

How many of you know this is the first day of summer? Yeah!

I want to start by checking in on your experience of anytime, anywhere anyplace always on lifestyle. Fun, raise your hand. If true, raise hand. When people talk to me I really pay attention. When people talk to me I pay partial attention to things coming up (phone, blackberry). Be honest! The way I CURRENTLY use computer and technology improves my quality of life? My quality of life is compromised by technology. Technology sets me free. Tech enslaves me.

One of the principles of the marshal art Aikido is that for every profound truth there is an opposite profound truth. IN a noisy world, the world may continue to be noisy, but we year to get to the bottom. To stillness. To meaningful connection. The meeting place of human desire and a new technology. Unix offered Talk almost 30 years before ICQ. The powerful desire to connect and a well timed technology caused thousands to sign up for ICQ. The sweet spot between human desire a new technology

In this 24 seven always on connected world, we pay continuous partial attention. CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION is very different from multitasking. Differentiated by the impulse that motivated them. Multitask p motivated by efficiency. Doing things that require little thought. We might stir soup, talk on phone. At work copy papers and talk. TO make more time for ourselves and be more efficient and productive.

To pay continuous partial attention is to pay attention partially continually. We want to connect and be connected. A node. Scan for opportunity. Be busy, connected is to be alive. To be recognized and to matter. We also pay CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION in an effort not to miss anything. Always on, anywhere, anytime, an artificial sense of constant crisis. Always on high alert when we pay CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. What’s ringing, who is it? What's on my list? Which email address do I need to give you.

In the all time full out golden days of CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. People would enter a meeting and spend the entire time emailing and sending SMS and the attention was anywhere but in the physical environment. To cope, to keep up relationships and responsibilities, we have stretched our personal attention bandwidth. Hundreds of emails, blogs, newsfeeds. To keep a top level item in focus and constantly scan the periphery in case something more important to us emerges. Desire to be a live node on the network. With each opportunity, what can be gained

Evolving over the last 20 years. Is it good or bad? Both. It is an adaptive behavior. Notice I am neither an advocate nor disser of CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. Merely recognizing the dominant attention paradigm of the past 20 years is CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. So many things offer great benefit in small doses and compromise us in large doses. True of CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. IN small doses, fabulous. When it is a lifestyle you have four people in bed. You, your partner and two blackberries.

The context that a more complex, global, tech rich world inspires us to evolve the way we use our attention. Framework of 20 years of shift of attention. At the heart of each socio=-cultural era.

60 years. Will talk about a piece of this. Fairly us centric research. generalizations that are not absolute, but range across various industries. I actually left MSFT to further research this. What I have found is this context tends to inspire a rich dialog and offers chance to look at challenges and opportunities. We operate with a sense of the collective ideal. Some of you may recall the 60s.

1965 - 1985 - Sally Fields, flying nun, fashion from mini skirts to combat fatigues, Apple, MSFT, long hair on men, era of self expression. Marlo Thomas free to be me. The center of gravity was me. Personal productivity. Entrepreneurials flourished and the divorce rate increased. Mom took aerobics. Frozen dinners. Fast food expanding. Children took self improvement classes. All about achieving our full potential and creating opportunities for ourselves.

We multitasked to increase our productivity. Full screen applications on our computers. The collective ideal was value self expression and creativity. Guiding principle and we took it to an extreme and found ourselves yearning for that which was sacrificed. Narcissism and loneliness. Miss connection to others. A sense of being part of something larger. 2005 the er of connecting. The network is the center of gravity. Value communication and comm. techs fl0ourished. Entrepreneurism with alliances. Micro finance models like Grameen phone and bank. We played battleship in the 70s, diplomacy in the 90s and world of warcraft now. Play dates replaced dancing lessons. Our new thing was scanning for opportunity. When Yahoo folks left to start epinions. IN the early days of friendsters, the barroom boast was "I have 3000 friends." Go to party and see people talking on their cell phones. We were everywhere except where we were physically. A 20 something said "I quite every socil network I was on to have dinner with people."
"I finally got off Linked in etc." Why do I want to have a FoFoF asking me for a favor. What kind of connection is that. " Younger people want a strategy for a better life. 24x7 is not feeling so good and want something to feel better besides drugs.

One clever CEO asked employees to disarm all weapons of mass communication at the door of meetings. Another said, we have different types of meeting. If big meeting, info presented, you can do email and sit at the back and do email. If small, decision making meeting, laptops closed.

This always on era has created an artificial state of constant crisis. Adrenalized flight or flight kicks in. Great for chasing tigers, but how many emails are tigers or flies? Key difference between multitasking and CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. Multitasking did not have the same stress related consequences. While multitasking continues to be a word used to describe our attention when we try and do more than one thing, but it is very different from multitasking in 1965-86

We stopped breathing deeply. We don't sleep as well. Less exercise. Increased use of drugs to sleep, keep us calm. CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION in this era of connect, connect - overwhelm, over-stimulation and a sense of unfulfillment. What to reach for a higher quality of life. Everything in nature that works has a lifestyles. Seasons. Athletes train with cycles which include rest. Always on doesn't reflect this. With no winter, there is no spring.

We use tech to communicate and be communicated to. As we develop social technologies, we take advantage of what the computer does well vs really thoughtful solutions that enrich our lives. That is the challenge to those of you developing technologies. Make tech that enriches our lives.

There are high tech and low tech solutions. Embed basic email courtesy guidelines in the bottom of emails like warm fuzzy legal disclaimers. If you are on the cc line, you don't need to respond. We have powerful technologies, at the same time, we feel increasingly powerless in our lives. Just as we made a shift from productivity to all about me, to connect to network centric, we are now on the edge of the next shift and a new set of opportunities.

We now feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled. Trends start slow then accelerate. Understanding this era will give us clues on how to resonate with clients. 5-7 year bleed between eras. The next set of behaviors are emerging.

We never totally give up what we integrate from past eras. Embrace new thoughts. New desires surface. The beginnings of a road map for innovation in marketing, communication and new products unfold.

We've come to feel overwhelmed, we want protection and protectors. A sense of meaning and belonging. Meaningful connection. We want authenticity, trust, seek out brands, leaders, celebs whose values resonate with ours and serve as trusted voices. Discernment to easily and confidently make choices. Where we shop, eat, buy will reflect our political views. From what do I have to gain to what do I have to lose?

We want ot make the best choices we can in a complex world with so many choices. Trusted authorities, and infomercials (2 billion ) In Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - trusted authorities. George Bush used words of safety more than other candidates. Purpose driven life - the protector spirit - sold 30million copies. Saddleback church grew offering small bible study groups. Fascinating model. New Yorker story by Rick Warren

We want to sort through noise effectively. TIVO, Google. Protect us from an overwhelming web. We want to wear an ipod as much to listen to our music as to protect ourselves from the noise. Want to trust companies. Trust. Safety. Authenticity, Trusted authorities. Uncluttered and clean means quality of life.

Does this product/service/feature/venue enhance my quality of life. Huge networks to meaningful networks. Worlds of Warcraft - "Liz Lawley - it takes a guild to raise a child." Guilds.

Products, services, corporate culture - inclined to resonate with messages of meaning, belonging, leadership, trust. Discernment opportunities vs scan for opportunity. Instead of taking on as many opportunities. Dot coms failed. Choose everything. Something is going to stick. IN new era of protection, discernment and belonging. Back off from endless choices. choosing a focus, adjusting course and heading forward.

To discern which opportunity, we'll characterize our evolution beyond the overwhelm, CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION, always on lifestyle. Quality of life. Think Apple. Think iPod. The iPod team had a strong focus, drive to take away everything that was extraneous. From information workers, to knowledge workers, to become wisdom workers. From multitasking to continuous partial attention and move forward into attention with intention and discernment. Ease of use has been the mantra. It's good, but not good enough. The new mantra, differentiator, opportunity is improves quality of life. Does it help us protect, filter, create a meaningful connection discernment, use our attention well and wisely?

Go back to the 1960s driven by productivity, information. You long for a desire to connect. You move into being a knowledge worker who scans for opportunity using CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION until over stimulated and unfulfilled. You move from creating opportunity, to scanning opportunity to discerning for opportunity.

Dee Hock says noise becomes data when it has cognitive pattern. Becomes information when... becomes knowledge when... (Missed it)

Knowledge becomes understanding when becomes related to other knowledge..

Wisdom when informed by purpose, ethics, memories and projection

Create products and service that help us move from becoming knowledge to wisdom workers.


Edit: Sunday, June 25, see Annette Kramer's coverage of Linda's session.

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Blogger Julie Leung said...

Awesome quotes in this post - thank you, Nancy!

9:36 PM  

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